March 16, 2018

Stephanie Davis-Kahl | Movers & Shakers 2014 — Change Agents



Scholarly Communications Librarian
Ames Library, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington

MSLS, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1998


Photo © 2014 by Michael Pilla


Scholarly communications often involve seasoned academics, but Illinois Wesleyan University’s (IWU) Stephanie Davis-Kahl is more concerned with some less experienced scholars: students. As manager of the institutional open access repository Digital Commons @ IWU, “Stephanie is leading a growing national movement in academic librarianship by successfully working with stakeholders on her campus around issues related to the curation of original student work,” says Merinda Hensley, instructional services librarian/scholarly commons coordinator at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Davis-Kahl’s efforts have resulted in a robust collection of close to 9,400 original records from students, faculty, and the university; contributors to Digital Commons @ IWU retain copyright of their work but sign a nonexclusive licensing agreement. Since the site’s launch in late 2007, there have been nearly 1.2 million full-text downloads of work in 277 disciplines.

While Davis-Kahl contributes to the professional literature herself, as faculty coeditor of the online journal Undergraduate Economic Review, which publishes student research from around the world, she “also actively engages undergraduates in conversations around the publication process,” Hensley says. This includes issues of copyright and reuse of art and music to create new works, authors’ rights, peer review, new publishing models, and more. Most important, Hensley says, “Stephanie’s vision for educating undergraduates, faculty, librarians, and administrators regarding students’ role in the information cycle is directly impacting and shaping the way our society will increasingly advocate for open access, benefiting information seekers around the world for years to come.”



  1. Jackie Dooley says:

    Stephanie is amazing! So glad to hear she is so appreciated at Illinois Wesleyan.

  2. Cathy Michael says:

    Congratulations, Stephanie, from one of your EBSS colleagues. You are impressive!

  3. Rochelle Gridley says:

    Congratulations Stephanie!